May 5, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, is one among the few African leaders invited by US president Barack Obama to attend the upcoming G8 summit on African food security.
- US President Barack Obama (L) with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (back C) at the G20 Summit in Seoul on November 12, 2010. (Getty)
Zenawi will attend the session along with three other African leaders – Benin’s president Boni Yayi, Ghanaian president and current AU chairman, John Atta-Millis and Tanzanian president Jakaye Kikwete.
The 38th G8 summit will be held at Camp David, Maryland on May 18-19 as drought and famine threaten millions of lives in the fragile East African region and other areas of the continent.
Last month, the United States committed an additional US$200 million in aid to the Horn of Africa, a region repeatedly hit by famine and drought.
Every year a few African leaders are invited by host nation to attend and to participate in some but not in all G8 summits.
This is not the first time for the Ethiopian prime minister to be invited to attend the G8 summit. In the past he has attended all G8 summits since 2005 except for the 32nd summit hosted by Russia.
According to a statement from the White House, the African leaders will join leaders of the G8’s industrialised countries for discussion on “accelerating progress towards food security” in Africa.
Earlier this year, Obama moved the G8 summit from his hometown of Chicago to Camp David "to facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G8 partners" by creating a more informal environment for intimate discussion among leaders.
The G8 was traditionally a group of world’s richest industrialised economies comprising of, the United States, Britain, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Russia. But since 2009 the larger G20 grouping has been seen as the main economic council for rich nations.
The UK and France have lobbied that five fast developing nations - known as the Outreach Five (O5) or the Plus Five - Brazil, People’s Republic of China, India, Mexico, and South Africa are added permanently to the grouping.